Sunday, 7 October 2012

Sadness and Frustrations

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

The only drawback to making a friend with a terminal illness is that there is going to be a sad ending and one risks being hurt.
I was first drawn to Pietra, who didn't live in Bristol but who came to my church every few weeks, because she was also suffering from cancer. Unfortunately, her outlook was not too good, but she had proved the Oncology team wrong on several occasions when she was given only months to live and had gone on for several years. We emailed regularly and I looked forward to the Church visit and felt she was a source of inspiration to me over these last few months as I got closer to her.
Now the inevitable has happened and I am really sad.
To the people who are left behind, it is really tough especially for her children, her mother and sisters.  She died very peacefully and unexpectedly without pain. She was a Christian with a strong belief and seemed to accept where she was going with anticipation and confidence. I will be left without my email friend who was a powerful prayer warrior, who put others in front of her own needs. She had encouraged me to be strong on many an occasion with my own illness by her cheerfulness and enthusiasm. Yes, she will be truly missed and certainly not just by me.

My friend Audrey has been coming weekly to help me with the heavier work in the garden. She wondered whatever had gone wrong with my Eleagnus Maculata bush that had started off as an innocent little shrub and ended up towering in height over the kitchen roof and some might describe it as a thug.
Audrey is fairly strong and for the last few weeks she bravely sawed off thick branches, while I gathered up leaves and chopped up smaller ones that soon filled up my Council garden waste bin several weeks running.
The last time Audrey came, she was merrily untangling top branches from the tree when a very angry bird started frantically squawking and flapping about. I looked up and saw a nest........ not a very tidy one at that. I halted all tree work much to Audrey's irritation. "There is no nesting in October," she retorted. I knew that, but what with Global Warming things don't necessarily follow normal patterns, do they? After searching the web for any information on late nesting and sitting under the tree regularly to watch and listen, I am none wiser about whether the nest is in use or not and that particular bird, who I think was a wren, seems to have gone away, leaving us with a flock of cheeky sparrows who use the tree to shelter in and keep an eye out when they are using the feeders in my garden.

My final frustration comes from the out break of head lice that seems to be plaguing my granddaughters. Can I really talk about such things as this in public! It would certainly not have been possibly in my youth when school nurses would examine everyones hair and send notes to parents to keep the children away from school. Then the offending child would eventually be sent to school with sticky foul-smelling chemicals on their hair and I'm sorry to say these poor children would then be taunted or avoided. It was definitely a thing to be ashamed of.
Now the whole of this middle class infants school seems to be riddled with the pests. No one seems to take much notice and the advice given is not to use chemicals because the beasts are immune to them anyway and the recommended treatment seems to be to use masses of conditioner on the hair with nit combing over and over again until they are all dragged out with broken legs. Well that would be fine if all the children did this at the same time but this seems to be a never ending infestation.
Most of the parents just shrug and say that this doesn't happen in the Senior schools because the children don't sit tightly bunched together with their hair touching the child on either side.

I went and broke the white plastic nit comb on Amber's strong, Japanese type hair and Millie, who seems to have inherited fine, English hair was just as difficult to untangle even with conditioner and I broke another one on her. They will insist on having long hair, flowing out on the shoulders like Alice In Wonderland. My children never had this problem because they always had short hair or was I just lucky?
I am soon expecting a consignment of metal nit combs to come through the post........ ordered from the Internet.
I think I will end on this itchy subject and hope the combs come in time for next weekend's slaughter when I will tackle the little blighters again. This time I will be ready for them.


rosaria williams said...

Oh Maggie, it is indeed a sad day when someone dies, especially someone who has helped you stay strong and motivated.

I had no idea that chemicals used for lice have been banned. This must be quite painful for the children and their parents. It happens so often now that we just accept that once a year or so the whole family with small children will experience this itchy event. Bummer!

Expat mum said...

So sorry for your loss. You may remember I lost my wonderful friend Lakeland Jo around this time last year, and there's not a day goes by I don't think of her. Such people leave a big gap in everyone's lives don't they?

Brian Miller said...

ugh on the head was rampant in our schools last year...i am sorry for the loss as well...that is def heavy a beautiful thing to love those that are terminally ill but....i have lost a few...

Hilary said...

Maggie, I'm so sorry for the loss of your dear friend. Hugs to you.

Ick on the lice. I was very lucky that my kids never got them though there were various infestations through their school years.

Coey said...

I am sorry maggs. Just remember that she has fought a long hard journey as you know and now she is at peace forever. I am sorry you miss your confidant I know how hard that can be.
I have watch way to many friend die of cancer, but I believe when you have cancer those are the people you are most attracted to.
Lots of love lady. Email me anytime.

Elaine Denning said...

You can buy a tea tree oil spray that you literally spray on the girls hair in the morning (a couple of squirts) before it's tied up for school. My neighbour's little girl uses it and she hasn't had a problem for 6 months. Aparrently the lice hate the smell! You can get it in Boots.

Jackie said...

I shed tears because of the loss of your friend Pietra. I am so sorry to hear about her passing, Maggie.
Hallelujah she is a Christian. That is the best news. But, I know that you mourn her passing. My condolences to you.
I admire you for stopping and waiting to see about the nesting bird. Good for you, dear Maggie.
Regarding head lice, as a retired educator, I say go ahead and do the chemicals on their hair...and then do it again when the label says to (that takes care of the eggs that the lice lay.) Use the chemicals for the adults and then again for the eggs, you will take care of them.
A former principal of mine told me several decades ago that head lice travel the highways...(especially the interstate highways.) I furrowed my brow, as I didn't understand what he meant. Years later, I discovered exactly what he meant. As I was getting back into my car from pumping gasoline at a gas station, I noticed a hair that was attached onto the side/bottom of my shoe. (Why I looked, I don't know...but I did.) And, on that hair was a single nit. (As an educator, I had seen my share of them at school and knew exactly what it was.) I thought back to what my principal had told me, and smiled. Yep, was a nit attached firmly to a hair, being picked up on a shoe and intending to travel the highways and byways of life.) Needless to say, it didn't make it to its destination, because I knew what it was. They are no respecter of persons. There use to be a stigma regarding them...but basically, that was because of ignorance of the people who were being judgmental. Again, I would advise you to go ahead and use the chemical treatment and nip them in the bud! :))
Hugs and much love to you,

VioletSky said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I hope you saved all those emails and that reading through them can still provide some strength.
I have no advice re: the lice. I don't remember ever having this problem when I was in school - or maybe I have blocked it out.

Mimi said...

Maggie, I am so sorry to hear that Pietra has passed on. This is very hard for you, and I'll be thinking of you in the coming weeks.
I literally laughed out loud when I came to the bit about Audrey and the nest; can imagine her trying to clear the branches, and you standing firm for the bird's sake! Standoff!!
Re headlice, I used essential oils to great effect with my kids to ward off infections of them; they're a lot of bother to get rid of so prevention is easier. email me if you want more info. Keeping hair tied back also helps.

Jinksy said...

I remember a sore head from being attacked by nit combs when I was little, wielded by two or three adults at once, approaching from all sides! That was long before the days of conditioners, and my curly hair was a nightmare, short though it was...

Terminally Ill said...

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Wendy said...

I am so sorry to hear about your friend's passing. Sad news indeed.

I see you've already had lots of advice regarding lice. My daughter came home from school with a note from the nurse that she had head lice. I was horrified! But then, it was the early '80's and I thought only those who didn't wash their hair got lice. Wrong!

Anyway, there is a shampoo (over the counter)that does work. Also somebody suggested Tea Tree oil and I think that works too.

Good luck - and no, there is no stigma any more.

Secret Agent Woman said...

I am sorry to hear about Pietra - that is very sad.

And yes, you can talk about lice publicly - it's a growing problem because they've become resistant to medications. And they are more common in girls with long hair, unfortunately.

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

I am so sorry you have lost your friend Maggie - it will be a sad time for her family and friends. I'm sure your fond memories will help a little.

Good luck with the head lice. My children did have them, once, and that was enough!

SueAnn Lommler said...

Good to be prepared!!
Get 'em!
And I am so sorry you have lost your friend...especially one who had a special place in your heart!
Hugs to you dear friend

Akelamalu said...

I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend m'dearo. xx

When I was a child we dreaded 'Nora the nit explorer' coming to school as nits were always prevalent. We had our hair washed with Derbac soap(the nitty soap we called it) and combed with a metal nit comb regularly.

Gail said...

Very sorry to hear about your loss Maggie

Rose said...

I am so sorry to hear of the passing of your friend. She sounds like such a brave, wonderful woman, and I'm sure you will miss her.

My sons came home once with head lice, and I was so embarrassed. But then I learned that an outbreak can spread very quickly from one child to another in school. We had to use that nasty shampoo on them; they don't allow that anymore? But I remember sitting and combing their hair for hours trying to get out all those nasty little nits. I also remember spending a weekend washing every piece of bedding in the house. No fun! I hope those nasty little buggers are gone from your granddaughters very soon!

Celia said...

I am so sorry Maggie. My heart goes out to you and her family. Many hugs to you in the coming days.

Irene said...

I think you should just buy a good lice removal shampoo and then wash all their bed linens really well. That should do the trick. Defeatism does not fit here. Wash their towels with which they've dried their hair too. and get rid of the combs they've udsed and the hats they worn. You have to be thorough about it. Good luck, Maggie.

mrsnesbitt said...

The nest incident would have distressed me too - a difficult week my dear hope Nesbitt hen is being of some comfort xxxxx

cheshire wife said...

Sad news about your friend. It must happen to someone, every day.

I think that head lice are a fact of life for primary school children these days. It does not go on for ever but I understand what a nuisance they are.

Sandi McBride said...

What a blessing Pietra was to you and you to her...even the sadness will soon giveway to good memories...I think Wrens make nice tidy nests but our Mocking birds have very untidy nests and they have several clutches of hatchlings from spring til fall...wonder if that could be it...and I remember seeing a segment on the Beeb about something that could be put into shampoo that would eradicate the little buggers for good and all but people have such a stigma that it would't be allowed...hope you are feeling well, delighted to read you today!

Cheryl said...

I am so very sorry about the loss of your dear friend. I hope you find some comfort in knowing how deeply you touched each other's lives. She sounds like a beautiful person, you were meant to have such a special friendship. Again, I am so sorry for the pain you are feeling.

I love how you stopped the work on the tree and respected the nest. What a wonderful thing to do.

Having worked in an Elementary school for 28 years, I know how stubborn the lice problem can be. So frustrating. Our school nurse did say to use the chemical treatments if it was the first time, it was only for the children who kept getting them that it stopped working. Also, she saiid, Olive oil slows them down, making it much easier to get them out and get the comb through.
Good luck my friend!

Jeni said...

Oh my, Maggie! Just one issue after another there! My condolences on the loss of your friend though. Always a very difficult thing regardless where one is in the lineup to the individual and the family. And, no matter how many times we deal with those things, it just never gets any easier, does it? Hope you can find something to find consolation in her passing though. The bird -I haven't a clue. And the head lice -I never had to deal with that with my kids (although my Mom told me I picked up some head lice back when I was around 4-5 years old at the Christmas Program at church from some kids who had them but at that age, I don't have any memory of how my Mom got rid of them. With my kids, the problem one year was mites -in the carpet at the school. What a mess that was as just about every kid it seemed had an infestation of 'em! Had to get special and also, very expensive, shampoo to treat the kids plus launder EVERYTHING -their stuff, my husband's, mine -Hell of a lot of work but eventually got them eradicated. I hope for you and the grandkids sake, it will be a fairly easy process. Who needs all that hassle?

Leave It To Davis said...

Hi. I was on Moannie's blog this morning and clicked on the blogs she followed. This led me to yours. I share in your sadness for the loss of your friend, for I have just lost a dear friend of mine.

When my kids were in school, the office sent out a memo to use Dippity-do (or some other styling gell) smeared all over the scalp and hair, then place a shower cap over the gelled hair. This will suffocate the lice. It did work, and without chemicals. I always wonderd why, as a child, I was immune to lice. It was because my mom was a Dippity-do addict...she was constantly gelling my hair and rolling it with brush rollers. Good luck! I hope you innihilate the critters!

ladyfi said...

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear about your loss.

FeltByRae said...

I am so sorry to hear of your loss, she was clearly a special lady

When my son was at primary school he got nits - we found out the infestation came from one family who refused to de-nit, ever! Most frustrating, but luckily a good dose of icky product worked

Bernie said...

So sorry Maggie, I spend 4 days a week with our cancer community, and several times a week I visit my friend who is now in hospice. I keep saying I am not going to keep up this volunteer work but somehow I just can't leave these beautiful people. Take care Maggie, good luck with the lice, I don't know why they are so bad this year...Hugs

Beryl Ament said...

I was thinking of a nice homily—the inevitable nature of death juxtaposed with the resilience of the birds . . .then I came to the lice and had to give up!

SandyCarlson said...

I am sorry about the loss of your friend. I so admire your strong heart.